Caux Kaleidoscope
01 October 1987

Themes considered at the Moral Re-Armament conference complex, perched above the Montreux end of Lake Geneva, varied as widely as the delegations which came from all corners of the world.

Edited By PAUL WILLIAMS
Again this summer a Swiss mountain village has played host to an extraordinary kaleidoscope of nationalities, ages and occupations.

'Since the end of the Second World War,' says Cardinal Konig of Vienna (who was present again this summer), 'Caux has been a place where people of different races, political opinions and classes have come together, often from seats of conflict that were threatening the peace of the whole world. Here the idea of reconciliation has grown, in a world where the fronts have hardened and tensions increased. Again and again a breakthrough has happened. I am convinced that the spirit of God is at work here.'

Themes considered at the Moral Re-Armament conference complex, perched above the Montreux end of Lake Geneva, varied as widely as the delegations which came from all corners of the world. In July the conference ranged from a `Mediterranean dialogue', where groups from such places as Turkey, Cyprus and the Lebanon rubbed shoulders with Euro MPs and cardinals, to an emphasis on the new generation when 120 young people from 27 countries came to study `creating new trends'. One week in August was hosted by people from the Americas, North and South, while later in the month a `dialogue of continents' brought groups from Africa, Asia and the Pacific. African drumming, Korean folk-singing and Filipino dancing enlivened the meetings. The summer at Caux ended with an emphasis on industry and economic life.

Running like a thread through all these sessions was the special link found at Caux between what the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel called 'the intimate and the global'. Resolving personal bottlenecks - such as when a Chilean trade unionist decided to end the two-year communication blackout with her sister by writing to put right her part in the quarrel - seemed to open the way to see larger issues differently.

A Fijian studying abroad found freedom to apologize for his previous attitude to the Indians. 'I want to be a bridge builder between the two major races rather than identifying myself with one and defying the other,' he said.

Argentines and British, Turks and Greeks, New Zealanders and French, people from north and south Sudan, Christian and Muslim, East and West, began to find hitherto undiscovered common ground.

The liberating power of forgiveness was a note struck more than once during the summer. `Unless I forgive,' said a young German, `God cannot get anything new into me.'

This year's conference was appropriately titled, 'Living the way we want the world to live.'


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